Where can you find more than 80,000 acres of wildlands with hundreds of miles of trails only 36 miles from San Jose? In Henry W. Coe State Park, the adventurer can hike for days without seeing any signs of urban California, particularly in the remote ridges, creeks, and meadows of the park’s Orestimba Wilderness. But the California High-Speed Rail Authority has proposed running bullet trains through this state wilderness area at over 200 miles per hour every 20 minutes to connect San Jose to the Central Valley. Park advocates say the routes would irreversibly scar and fragment Northern California’s largest state park. “We are totally against any route through Coe; not only will it be terribly destructive, but it sets a terrible, unthinkable precedent for development in other wilderness and in other state parks,” says Teddy Goodrich, spokesperson for Coe Advocates. The current Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Los Angeles-bound train system contains four options for passage through the Diablo Range, with two alternatives running directly through Coe’s Orestimba Wilderness. A third possible route would run to the north of the park but could well affect wildlife corridors connected to the park, says Noah Tilden of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Through August 31, you can comment on or suggest alternatives for the rail routes online at www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov. For more information on the park’s natural and cultural history, visit www.coepark.org. For images of the Orestimba Wilderness and proposed rail routes through Robinson Canyon, visit www.coeadvocates.org and click on the “slide show” link.
Bay Nature magazine ◦ July-September 2004